December 3, 2022

Jayden Daniels For Heisman?

LSU QB Jayden Daniels has put himself in the Heisman Trophy conversation playing his best football in the team's toughest stretch of the season. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

In the spirit of Election Day, it is time to make a campaign of our own and that is Jayden Daniels for Heisman.

You may be seeing this article and asking, “Jace, what about the beginning of the season when Jayden Daniels only threw for 85 yards against Auburn and when LSU lost at home convincingly to Tennessee?” Well, Jayden Daniels has made up for it by playing some of the best football in the entire country over the last four weeks.

Also, this past week proved that the Heisman Trophy is wide open with Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker and Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud both struggling this past week statistically.

The other argument that one may throw against Daniels is that only quarterbacks that are on undefeated or one loss teams are the only players that have legitimate shots at the Heisman Trophy. Well, over the last decade, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson did not even play for a conference championship, but yet came away with the Heisman Trophy because of the impact they had on their teams. Daniels has that same effect and may have the most impact when it comes to his football team.

Despite Daniels having two losses this season, history has shown that one could still win the Heisman Trophy without leading an undefeated or one loss team.

Winners on Teams with Two Regular Season Losses
1954 Alan Ameche Wisconsin 7 – 2 – 0
1955 Howard Cassady Ohio State 7 – 2 – 0
1957 John David Crow Texas A&M 8 – 2 – 0
1962 Terry Baker Oregon State 8 – 2 – 0
1965 Mike Garrett So. California 7 – 2 – 1
1966 Steve Spurrier Florida 9 – 2 – 0
1967 Gary Beban UCLA 7 – 2 – 1
1984 Doug Flutie Boston College 9 – 2 – 0
1988 Barry Sanders Oklahoma State 9 – 2 – 0
1989 Andre Ware Houston 9 – 2 – 0
1991 Ty Detmer BYU 10 – 2 – 0
1995 Eddie George Ohio State 10 – 2 – 0
1999 Ron Dayne Wisconsin 9 – 2 – 0
2002 Carson Palmer So. California 10 – 2 – 0
2012 Johnny Manziel Texas A&M 10 – 2 – 0

Winners on Teams with Three Regular Season Losses
1950 Vic Janowicz Ohio State 6 – 3 – 0
1961 Ernie Davis Syracuse 7 – 3 – 0
1970 Jim Plunkett Stanford 8 – 3 – 0
1980 George Rogers South Carolina 8 – 3 – 0
1981 Marcus Allen So. California 8 – 3 – 0
1985 Bo Jackson Auburn 8 – 3 – 0
1987 Tim Brown Notre Dame 8 – 3 – 0
1998 Ricky Williams Texas 8 – 3 – 0
2007 Tim Tebow Florida 9 – 3 – 0
2011 Robert Griffin III Baylor 9 – 3 – 0
2016 Lamar Jackson Louisville 9 – 3 – 0

Winners on Teams with Four Regular Season Losses
1969 Steve Owens Oklahoma 6 – 4 – 0

Winners on Teams with a .500 Record
1935 Jay Berwanger Chicago 4 – 4 – 0

Winners on Teams with a Losing Record
1956 Paul Hornung Notre Dame 2 – 8 – 0

LSU QB Jayden Daniels is the only quarterback in the country that has thrown for more than 1,700 yards and has rushed for over 600 yards in the country. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Just like when talking about the College Football Playoff and discussing teams should be in the playoff that are playing their best football right now, that discussion could also be said for players in terms of the Heisman Trophy.

Ever since the Florida game, Daniels has entered the conversation as a dark horse for the Heisman Trophy.

Nobody has had quite the three game period that Daniels has had. In wins against Florida, Ole Miss, and Alabama, the Arizona State quarterback transfer has completed 71% of his passes for 779 yards and seven touchdown passes while also showing his dynamic ability as a runner with 260 yards rushing and seven more touchdowns.

Against some of the top competition in the SEC, he has delivered. This hot streak started in the Tigers’ 45-35 victory over Florida when he completed 23 of 32 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for three more touchdowns on the ground. The only other LSU quarterback to account for six or more touchdowns in a single game happened to be Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.

Jayden Daniels poses after scoring one of his six touchdowns in the 45-35 victory over Florida. (Photo courtesy of LSU Athletics)

A week later, Daniels showed that the Florida performance was no fluke in a 45-20 dominating win against number seven ranked Ole Miss. In primetime on CBS, Daniels put on a show completing 21 of 28 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns while dazzling fans with his running ability racking up 121 yards on the ground and three more touchdowns.

LSU QB Jayden Daniels showed that the Florida game was no fluke and had five total touchdowns in the 45-20 win over #7 Ole Miss. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Despite putting up big numbers in the first two games, it was what he did in the biggest game of the season in a top ten matchup with the SEC juggernaut Alabama Crimson Tide for control of the SEC West on the line that has firmly put Daniels in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy. In order to be in the Heisman conversation playing in the SEC West, one must put on a great performance against Alabama. Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, and Joe Burrow all had Heisman moments in wins over Alabama and so did Jayden Daniels.

In the game, Daniels completed 22 of 32 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 95 more yards and a third touchdown. Daniels had not just one, but countless number of Heisman moments in the Alabama game. The first one was a 31 yard scramble on third down and five late in the football game down by four points. The second was on the same drive when he threw a touchdown dime in the back corner of the end zone to Mason Taylor to grab the late lead. The last two came in overtime as on the first play of the Tigers’ drive in overtime, Daniels had a 25 yard rushing touchdown to make it a 31-30 game, and of course, the last Heisman moment was his biggest yet, and that was when he hit Mason Taylor again for the game winning two point conversion.

LSU QB Jayden Daniels had one of his many Heisman moments in the 32-31 victory over Alabama including this 25 yard touchdown run in overtime before his next Heisman moment, which was the two point conversion. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

It is not just Heisman moments, which Daniels does have, but a player needs to have impressive statistical numbers over a course of an entire season and not just a three game period to be considered and he does have that too.

Overall, he has completed 187 of 268 passes (69.8%) for 1,994 yards and 14 touchdown passes to go along with another 619 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground. The 619 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns are the most in a single season by any LSU quarterback.

Daniels has proved to be the true definition of a dual threat quarterback as he is the only signal caller in the country to be in the top ten in his conference in rushing and passing while also being the only quarterback in the country to throw for more than 1,700 yards passing and 600 yards rushing. He is the second leading rushing quarterback in the country behind Georgia State’s Darren Grainger and has scored the third most rushing touchdowns in the country by a quarterback behind Louisville’s Malik Cunningham and Oregon’s Bo Nix.

What is most impressive about his stat line is that the offense revolves around him so much, but yet, he has only thrown one interception this season. His ability to be this explosive and to not turn the football over has been the most impressive stat this season.

Although he will not catch up to Joe Burrow’s NCAA mark of 65 touchdowns in 2019, Daniels has put himself in position to move all the way up to number two in the program’s history for total touchdowns responsible for in a season and his 14 touchdowns in three games is the third most in any three game span in LSU history behind Burrow, who did it twice.

The numbers back it up and the way Jayden Daniels has played in this three game stretch has put him in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy and if he continues to put together this epic string of performances to winning the SEC Championship over potentially Georgia in Atlanta, then the Tigers will once again have another quarterback making the trip to New York in December.

Heisman odds after Week 10, per Vegas Insider: 

Here is where Jayden Daniels’ stats rank with the rest of the quarterbacks ahead of him.

Jayden Daniels:

Passing:

CMPATTCMP%YDSAVGTDINTLNGSACKRTG
18726869.81,9947.41415431148.8

Rushing:

ATTYDSAVGTDLNG
1316194.71031

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett:

CMPATTCMP%YDSAVGTDINTLNGSACKRTG
19829267.82,6068.9113787153.2
ATTYDSAVGTDLNG
291304.5664

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett is leading the number one ranked and defending national champion Bulldogs. He is definitely a main reason for their success, but statistically, he has seven less total touchdowns than Daniels and three less touchdown passes than Daniels does have.

North Carolina QB Drake Maye:

CMPATTCMP%YDSAVGTDINTLNGSACKRTG
22231271.22,9649.53138023181.8
1145134.5442

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye has put up video game numbers for the Tar Heels accounting for 35 touchdowns and 3,477 total yards, but has yet to have that “Heisman moment” that sticks out when talking about him for the Heisman. He will have opportunities to do so like Daniels, especially if the Tar Heels make and win the ACC championship, but he needs those Heisman moments like Daniels to put himself further up the list.

Oregon QB Bo Nix:

CMPATTCMP%YDSAVGTDINTLNGSACKRTG
20027373.32,4959.1225581173.0
ATTYDSAVGTDLNG
694576.61380

Like Drake Maye, Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has put up video game numbers for the Ducks, but the Georgia blowout loss in Week One is still fresh in a lot of people’s minds. Nix has made up for it with dominating play throughout the stretch, but needs to continue this string of great performances against ranked teams in Washington and Utah.

USC QB Caleb Williams:

CMPATTCMP%YDSAVGTDINTLNGRTG
20431664.62,7428.728175166.1
ATTYDSAVGTDLNG
722874.0455

USC quarterback Caleb Williams has been phenomenal in taking care of the football throwing one interception this season and has been consistent, but so far, there has not been one performance that has stood out amongst the rest. Caleb will get chances in the Trojans’ final couple of games against UCLA and Notre Dame to have those Heisman wow moments.

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker:

CMPATTCMP%YDSAVGTDINTLNGRTG
17925271.02,53310.12127818181.4
ATTYDSAVGTDLNG
913553.9444

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker had a tough day at the office in the team’s 27-13 loss to Georgia and certainly with a win over the defending Bulldogs, would have most likely clinched the Heisman, but with the offense struggling in the loss, the Heisman is now wide open for grabs. Certainly, Hooker still has a legitimate shot of winning the trophy and has the head to head against Jayden Daniels, but both players’ stats are similar with Hooker having one more touchdown than Daniels (25 to 24) and Daniels will have more opportunities to rise up the list, especially potentially in the SEC Championship game.

Ohio State QB CJ Stroud:

CMPATTCMP%YDSAVGTDINTLNGSACKRTG
16924967.92,4539.9294797185.8
ATTYDSAVGTDLNG
25753.0044

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was not the only quarterback to come off a struggling performance, but Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is coming off his worst performance of the season in the 21-7 win over Northwestern completing only 10 of 26 passes for 76 yards and no touchdowns. Stroud will still have his say in the conversation in the big rivalry game against Michigan for the right to play in the Big 10 Championship Game.

With that being said, other quarterbacks may have bigger numbers than Jayden Daniels, but nobody has separated himself from the pack and the way that Jayden Daniels is playing right now, he is certainly a serious threat to crash the party in New York.

From there, maybe just maybe, the Tigers will have their second Heisman Trophy winning quarterback in four years.




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